Lawmakers face budget challenges, groups brace for possible cuts

January 4, 2017

 

SAN ANTONIO - Lawmakers are planning the state's two-year spending plan on a tight budget next week, and groups that depend on state funds are bracing for possible cuts.

The state's economy took a hit due to the struggling oil and gas industry. As a result, lawmakers are having to stretch every dollar, while potentially slashing billions.

Organizations like the Brighton Center in San Antonio said it's keeping a close eye on the upcoming legislative session.

The center provides education and developmental services for children with disabilities. It helps about 1,600 kids a year. In the center's early childhood intervention program, staff work with the children's family at their home and provides therapy.

Nearly 50 percent of that program's budget comes from state and federal funding.

House Speaker Joe Straus, who is from San Antonio, has vowed to continue to fund groups helping children.

Straus said in a statement on his website, "The next state budget is going to be tight. However, I also believe that we will be able to make investments in our top priorities, such as public education and child protection."

Governor Greg Abbott has also pledged to support groups that help children in Texas.

"It's been kind of a relief for us. We've been following that very closely to see what we can do on our end to make sure that we stay in the forefront of their minds," said Holly Grogan, Brighton Center ECI director.

It's already been financially tough for organizations that provide therapy services for children with disabilities. On Dec. 15, Medicaid reimbursement rates used for some therapy services were cut.

The legislative session convenes Jan. 10.

 

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14207 Higgins Rd. San Antonio, Texas 78217

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